I think the problem may be just which "interests' of the US we are putting ahead of others. And how we go about pushing them. We need to accept that we do have interests and have every right to push for them, just as any country has the right to refuse. But we need to look closely at what those interests are.
Clearly we can?t roll over and play dead. What we can do is demand more for our money, power and presence than a military base and trade concessions.
When we tell a country that we support freedom, democracy and individual rights and then prop up a petty dictator because it is in our "strategic best interests" (and sometimes in the best interests of big business), then we have a short term gain and a long term loss.
We are the biggest, strongest guy on the street. What kind of message do we send when we act erratically or hypocritically? We may not care today but probably will tomorrow.
After Desert Storm we (and UN or not it was our show) allowed the Kuwait Royal Family back into power with vague promises from them to give more power to the parliament (to date I don?t think they have). How is that in our ?best interest? It?s certainly seem to be convenient and easy but is it much more than a quick fix? What message have we sent to the citizens of Kuwait?
We seem to have myopia when it comes to looking at the consequences of our actions. And a very bad habit of assuming that the rest of the world thinks, acts and responds like we do.
McArthur understood the nature of the Japanese when he took over as military governor and managed to transform as fairly feudal society into a parliamentary democracy. Lots of bumps along the way but seems to have worked.
I think we need to decide what our core values are and promote them, not play the ?practical, expedient? game or get lost in endless arguments over the relative merits of value systems.
There needs to be a set of core values that we build on. Determining them will be difficult and contentious. My suggestion is for individual rights, individual moral autonomy, and strong democratic values affecting all aspects of society.
Granted, we need to work on those in this country but the essential questions seems to be to find a place to start from that is inclusive and not limited to practicality or convenience.
Regards and good night.